A Device For Family Togetherness

In a small, Massachusetts hospital, a new mother was nursing her infant daughter -- at least, that's what she thought. But the nurse brought in the wrong baby.

Like most newborns in America, this one wore an ID bracelet -- the same security system used at the University of Virginia hospital where, this summer, a mother discovered she took home the wrong child three years ago.

CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick reports some hospitals even connect ID bracelets to alarm systems, like merchandise sensors in stores.

But there are no national guidelines, no rules governing how a hospital should monitor the movements of its tiniest patients. Even so, the hospitals are now demanding more--and high tech is answering the cry.

You now can have a record of where the baby is at any point in time inside a facility.


A Boston-area company, Pinpoint Technology, claims it can track babies' whereabouts.

CEO Ron Remy says they got the idea from the U.S. Defense Department's global satellite tracking system. Pinpoint uses small radio towers, set up in a hospital, which collect signals from pager-like devices. The so-called tags are attached to the baby and the mother.

"If the two tags got too far apart or if the infant is moved without the parent's tag moving with it, then that would be an alarm condition and you could take action from a security standpoint," said Remy.

The system was designed to protect medical equipment from theft. And, it isn't cheap. But Remy says several hospitals have asked for it, willing to pay, it seems, for family togetherness.

Reported by Diana Olick
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments